Tête à Tête with Toni Halonen - Kenzine, the Kenzo official blog

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Zips are one of the key details on KENZO pieces this season. Look out for the zips forming the emblematic K - the symbol of our fashion house – on leather pieces such as our Kalifornia bag and our ‘K’ perfecto jacket

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Using the zips to create the K twists these classically inspired pieces to forge originality that is quintessentially KENZO. The zips are oversize and extravagant, a nod to the excess of the 1980s and the punk aesthetic that triumphed the use of zips, which were a major source of inspiration for the collection. 

At KENZO, we have been sharing our favorite recipes that have been influenced by the themes of the collection. 


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Last season, Petit Comité drew inspiration from Asian and Indian cooking to offer us recipes that were as delicious as they were surprising.

With summer just around the corner, Chefs François Pasteau and Olivier Roellinger taught us how to reconcile the protection of endangered species by cooking delicious fish dishes using pollock, mackerel and black mullet. Yummy!

Carol and Humberto have both fostered a love of underground cultures since their teens, and they love to juxtapose the disruption of those influences with more conventional mainstream codes. They forge their singular approach in particular through their creative vision for KENZO; from their different artistic collaborations, to their choice of photographers for the campaigns and the eclectic composers they pick for the show soundtracks.

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The duo constantly draws inspirations from underground cultures, which translate into strong visual touch points in the KENZO collections. For Spring/Summer 2014 ‘80s punk bands such as Black Flag, skateboarding and unconventional beach cultures were all celebrated. This Autumn, David Lynch’s Americana and experimental cinema will be next.


Discover more about some of the underground influences of the KENZO Spring/Summer 2014 collection:

‘Scratch your name on my Arm’ by Deanna Templeton.
The Underground music scene in L.A. by Milly McMahon.
Mike D. from the Beastie Boys.
Malcolm Maclaren’s British Punk.

Skate culture and Los Angeles go hand in hand. For Spring/Summer 2014, KENZO drew inspirations from both. 

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Our collaborations with Vans and our emblematic skate board “Era”, with multicolor prints fresh from our different collections, have all paid tribute to the deep connection between skateboarding and the city of angels.

Last November, we launched our new Kalifornia bag in “The Berrics” - the legendary L.A. indoor skate park. On that occasion, a crew of female skaters put on an impressive show by performing choreographed skate sets up and down the dinner table, turning it into a rail or a funbox in a heartbeat. One of them, Vanessa Torres, has shared her favorite spots with us in her recent interview with Kenzine. 


Red is the color used par excellence by activists and militants, which perfectly epitomizes KENZO’s rebellious spirit this season. Red is strong and energizing; it excites the emotions and inspires people to action. 

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Red stands for passion and the possession of an ambitious spirit. It is vibrant and full of life, yet it also alludes to danger. This complex mixture serves as a thematic background to the collection, in particular the partnership with The Bluemarine Foundation to fight against overfishing and ocean pollution – a topic very close to Carol and Humberto’s hearts.
Red is one of the colors of Spring/Summer 2014, perfectly contrasting with the palette of oceanic blues that prevail.


See the Red High Waves collection here.

Overfishing is a sensitive issue that Carol and Humberto care deeply for. Both our creative directors were born in California, where 90 percent of people live within 50 miles of the coast, and they are both dedicated to the cause of the preservation of the oceans. 

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Through collaborating with the Blue Marine Foundation and by creating the “No Fish No Nothing” digital experience and KENZO capsule collection, the duo aim to present a strong message to raise awareness of overfishing as a human process that is extremely destructive of marine wildlife. The Blue Marine Foundation, or ‘BLUE’, was established in 2010 by some of the team behind the award-winning documentary ‘The End of the Line’. The film was adapted from BLUE Chairman Charles Clover’s book of the same name, which reveals the many excesses and the real dangers of industrial overfishing.

Read more about The Blue Marine Foundation in Carol and Humberto’s message.

'No Fish No Nothingis the militant slogan and manifesto imagined by Carol and Humberto to sum up the seriousness of the situation and the stakes of their involvement in the oceans preservation. It is through the collection bearing the same name that they express their concern.

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Marine life is necessary to the development of all human life and that’s when they realized the havoc wreaked by overfishing that Carol and Humberto decided to support the Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE). The items of this collection bear the different slogans and also give some information about the impact of overfishing. The clothes are thus diverted from their practical use to carry a strong and militant message.

This line was created to support the foundation financially. So if you also want to bring your support to the cause, just come to our e-shop!

Los Angeles is a mythical city that symbolizes both 1950s counterculture and the emerging youth culture. Twelve times the size of Paris, the City of Angels occupies a diverse space where nature meets urban life, where the beach meets the mountains. 

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Los Angeles has always been a breeding ground for alternative cultures such as punk and hip hop, and the influence of Hollywood mixes with ethnically diverse, quintessentially American neighborhoods. Los Angeles is also Carol and Humberto’s birth place, and they have inherited its spontaneous, contemporary and uninhibited creativity that characterizes their KENZO collections.     

Kalifornia is the name of KENZO’s signature bag. Launched in Autumn/Winter 2013, it received a sundrenched summer makeover of bright colors and aquatic prints for the Spring/Summer 2014 collection.

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Humberto Leon and Carol Lim both hail from the Golden State, and the Californian culture they grew up with continues to influence them and inform KENZO with a new, energetic spirit. The Kalifornia bag is the unprecedented perfect synthesis between Parisian chic and Californian laid-back attitude.

Kalifornia was launched last December in an indoor skate park in Los Angeles, where four pro skaters were rode the dinner table while Kelela and Total Freedom from Californian label Fade to Mind took care of the music. Carol and Humberto’s friends – including Fergie, Rashida Jones, Rose McGowan, Gia Coppola and Devon Aoki, muse of course of the  Spring/Summer 2014 campaign – all dropped by to support KENZO for the launch.

Toni Halonen is the Finnish designer who has illuminated this season's KENZOPEDIA with the vivid colours of his digital paintbox. We caught up with him to find out what makes him tick...

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KENZINE: Which was your favorite letter to illustrate? Why?
Toni Halonen: This far my favorite has been letter ‘I’. It was fun to mix KENZO's aesthetics with elements from iconography.

K: Which word would you like to hear used more?
T.H.: Lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas. Thats the longest word in the Finnish language. It translates as ‘airplane jet turbine engine auxiliary mechanic non-commissioned officer student’. I would love to see someone pull that one off in a casual conversation.


K: How did you approach your designs?
T.H.: Well how it usually goes is that I read the brief and try to come up with some ideas without much of success. Then when I am doing something completely different the idea strikes me. I drop everything else, pick up my stylus and start sketching.

K: What values or aesthetic elements do you share with KENZO?
T.H.: Bright colors, twisted humor, hand-sketched rawness. I never had to ‘work’ on doing something KENZO. It came quite naturally.

K: What's your KENZO spirit animal? Tiger or Fish?
T.H.: Tiger. It’s actually my Japanese Zodiac sight.

K: Describe yourself in one sentence.
T.H.: Cool cat living up north, trying to make a living.


K: What is your favorite thing to draw?
T.H.: I would love to do more abstract works. That’s definitely something I want to concentrate more on future.

K: Your favorite font?
T.H.: Only one?! That’s like asking a DJ for his favorite song. My song could be Phil Collins in the air tonight and the font has to be Futura (the old version) even though I don't use it much anymore.

K: If you were stranded on a desert island, what could you not live without?
T.H.: My record collection.

K: If you were a color in a paint box, which would you be and why?
T.H.: Maybe a crazy multicolored one. Like those multicolored pens that you had when you were a child. And when you pushed out all the colors at the same time you could draw some crazy stuff.

K: What was the last gift you received?
T.H.: I was playing records in St. Petersburg and got some great vinyl singles from the local record boss, Kirill. Unfortunately after playing the whole night and some russian vodka they mystically disappeared…

K: KENZO is all about traveling, which city or place most inspires you?
T.H.: I have to say even that I love travelling, my home city Helsinki is the most inspiring place for me.

K: Your next dream travel destination?
T.H.: I would love to visit Marrakech in Morroco, and  check out The Majorelle Garden. I also love Morroccan carpets. There's some beautiful rawness in those from which we can all learn something.

K: If you hadn't become a graphic artist, you would have been a...
T.H.: I already changed career once. I used to study architecture before following my heart and ventured into graphic arts. So don't make me go through that again!


Discover Toni's work bellow :

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